The 24th annual Northeastern Open Atlatl Championship weekend at the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont (immediately across the Lake Champlain Bridge) will be held on Friday, September 20, through Sunday, September 22, 2019
The event includes an atlatl-making workshop on Friday and birch bark basket-making on Sunday. The main competition is on Saturday. The Chimney Point field, on the shore of Lake Champlain, is set up for accuracy and distance competitions. Contestants from all over New England and New York use the atlatl, an ancient spear-throwing tool in use around the world before the bow and arrow, to test their prowess in accuracy and distance by throwing at a variety of targets. Event attendees can watch and cheer them on.
Saturday’s competition starts with registration at 10:00 a.m., followed by the “International Standard Accuracy Competition,” and then the accuracy test with painted animal targets and distance event. The contest ends with a “Grand Champion” shootout. Categories include youth (ages 16 and under) girl and boy, women, and men. Contestants usually range from interested novices to some of the best in the country. Competitors pay $7.00 with pre-registration or $8.00 on the day. Call 802-759-2412 to pre-register.
Saturday demonstrations on the lawn compliment the museum exhibits on the Native American and early European and American history of Chimney Point. Visitors can watch or try their hand at flint-knapping (making tools out of stone) with expert Barry Keegan; atlatl making and more with Thunderbird Atlatl, making Woodland pottery with Charlie Paquin, learning about birchbark canoes and how the Europeans adapted them from the native peoples with Mike Blakeslee, and flint and steel fire-making from the Revolutionary War period with Charlie Paquin. Also see an ancient game using atlatls, spears, and what looks like a large shuttlecock. Special children’s activities.
- Friday from noon to 5:00 p.m. is the popular atlatl workshop with Robert Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl. The $70 fee includes materials, instruction, and coaching. Participants make an atlatl and three fletched darts, receive coaching on their use, and are welcome to compete the next day. Pre-registration is required.
On Sunday, from 10:00 to 4:30, Barry Keegan offers a new basket-making workshop--with birch bark. The $60 fee includes materials. Dress for getting wet. Pre-registration is required. Bring your lunch.
Admission for Saturday’s event is included with the regular museum ticket of $5.00 for adults and free for children under 15. The Chimney Point State Historic Site presents the history of the region’s three earliest cultures—Native American, French Colonial, and early American. The site was used by Native Americans for thousands of years, was the location of the 1731 French fort, and the museum is in the c.1785 tavern building. It is located at 8149 VT Route 17W in Addison at the foot of the Lake Champlain Bridge. Phone number for pre-registration and information is 802-759-2412. The site is open 10:00 to 5:00, Wednesdays through Sundays, through October 13.
For more information about the Vermont State-Owned Historic Sites visit www.historicsites.vermont.gov.